Page last updated at 09:59 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Iraq calls for security support


Foreign Minister Zebari talks to the BBC

Iraq has called for more support from the international community to help it combat insurgent suicide bombings.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Sunday's bombings, which killed more than 150 people, had shaken confidence in the country's security forces.

He called for the UN to investigate external interference in Iraq, accusing Syria of harbouring the perpetrators of some of the most devastating attacks.

Syria denounced Sunday's attack and denied having any hand in terrorism.

However, Mr Zebari said he had "very solid, concrete evidence" that the attack was carried out by Baathist supporters of the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and that the attackers had received support and protection from Damascus.

A further 500 people were wounded in Sunday's co-ordinated attacks which were the deadliest in Iraq for over two years.

The violence came as Iraqi MPs were in deadlock over the rules governing next January's general election.

The Iraqi parliament has until 31 October to break the deadlock over the election, with differences between Arab and Kurdish factions centring on the disputed northern oil city of Kirkuk.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Zebari warned that any delay to the 16 January poll would upset the fragile security situation and could force the United States to revise its timetable for the withdrawal of its forces.

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